"California would become the first state to require paid sick leave
for every worker under legislation passed Wednesday by the Assembly," reports Jim Sanders for the Bee.
"The measure would allow the sick leave to be used for
a personal illness, to care for a sick family member,
or to recover from domestic violence or sexual assault.
"Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, said her Assembly Bill 2716 would protect more than 5 million Californians – about a third of the work force – who are forced to choose between working while sick
or losing pay.
"'(It's) a win-win for workers and employers alike and is an important
part of maintaining a healthy economy here in California,' Ma said.
"When employers offer paid sick days, employee morale
is better, turnover is less, and health care costs
decrease, Ma said.
"The Assembly approved the bill, 43-25, with no Republican support. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
has taken no position on the legislation, which now
goes to the Senate."
"California counties can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 17 , the state's Office of Vital Records determined today," writes Wyatt Buchanan in the Chron.
"That is a day later than many county officials had
assumed and some same-sex couples had booked time slots for weddings on June
"The decision to issue licenses starting June 17 allows the state Supreme Court the maximum time to
consider any challenge to its ruling before it takes
effect, according to a letter sent today to county
clerks by the Office of Vital Records.
"County clerks can begin issuing marriage licenses that
day, 'assuming no legal developments to the contrary,' according to the state letter."
Just in time for Election Day, Capitol Weekly's election scorecard
can help you make sense of a primary season that has
failed to capture the public's imagination.
an abysmally low voter turn-out is expected, it has done little to stem the tide
of special interest money flooding the legislative
"With state campaign spending limits in place, most
of that money is filtering in through independent expenditure
committees. In many cases, groups of interests are
coming together for individual legislative races, even
though those groups may be on opposite sides of other
"Since, in this era of term limits, the candidate is
a lesser-known quantity than their political proxies, we’ve tried to track some of that special interest money.
We’ve compiled a list of the largest players in the IE
world, and the candidates they are supporting. We’ve also compiled a list of candidates in competitive
legislative seats, and their political consultants
to help you keep score on Election Eve."
CW's John Howard tracks the big money pouring in for Proposition 98 and 99.
"A major Bay Area real estate investor has donated nearly
$1 million in less than two weeks to Proposition 98, which would repeal rent control ordinances in scores
of cities across the state and limit the use of eminent
"Thomas Coates, partner in the San Francisco-based commercial real
estate investment and management
firm Arroyo & Coates, gave $450,000 last Thursday to the
pro-Proposition 98 campaign, according to financial disclosure records
on file with the state. Six days earlier, on May 16, he gave $300,000
and the day before that he donated $200,000.
"The clients of Coates’ firm include a company run by Tribune Co. chief
billionaire Samuel Zell, who has donated $100,000 to the Proposition 98
campaign, including a $50,000 contribution on Friday and a $50,000
donation last September."
The Merc News's Steven Harmon writes that the historic speakership of Karen Bass has little time
to make history.
"As the first African-American woman speaker in the state's - and the nation's - legislative history, the Los Angeles Democrat has
already carved her place in history. She stands in
as a symbol of progress and a triumph of California's diverse reservoir of talent.
"But her newfound status, political observers say, could
be narrow in its scope and reach, registering as barely
a blip on the Capitol scene once her term is concluded.
"With only two years remaining in the Assembly, Bass' rise to the speakership signals a return to the short-term, placeholder speakership that the office has most
often been since longtime Speaker Willie Brown was
pushed out by term limits in 1995.
"'A grand agenda just isn't going to happen for her,' said Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont
McKenna College. 'We're in the era of drive-by speakerships. Lasting accomplishments take time,
and time is exactly what leaders don't have in the era of term limits.'"
George Skelton looks at the reserves built up by First 5 commissions around the state, which receive tobacco tax revenues approved by the
voters earmarked for early childhood programs
"The huge surplus in the Prop. 10 early childhood program has caught the eyes of many
Republicans, especially Sen. Dave Cox of Sacramento
County. But Democrats are protecting it. Cox is on
his third bill in the last 17 months trying to seize the unused $2.4 billion -- "that's serious money" -- and, in effect, scuttle the program, called First5.
"...Cox is asking the Legislature to place a measure
on the November ballot that, he says, would ask voters,
"Is this really what you had in mind?" with Prop. 10.
"He'd divide most of the stockpiled money among schools,
counties and cities. The state's general fund would seize $367 million for children's healthcare and deficit reduction. The annual $580-million tobacco tax take would be diverted to state
programs for child healthcare and Medi-Cal.
"You'd think Democratic leaders -- in search of tax dollars -- would be interested in discussing this. Instead, they're dismissing it as just another Republican idea."
The LAT's John Mitchell gives a final preview of Tuesday's primary for the 25th Senate District .
"When former Assemblyman Roderick "Rod" Wright talks about his upcoming election bout against Assemblyman
Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Compton), he sometimes refers to a classic 1980 boxing match -- the one in which a younger Larry Holmes defeated legendary
champion Muhammad Ali.
"'If you're Larry Holmes, you don't feel good about that fight,' Wright said. 'I would love to be in the [state] Senate being confirmed along with Mervyn Dymally,
but that's not going to happen.'
"The two men are among four Democratic candidates competing
to become state senator in the 25th District, which stretches from Inglewood and Los
Angeles to Compton, Long Beach and the Palos Verdes
"At 55, Wright sees himself as much more energetic than his
"But Dymally, who is campaigning in Los Angeles and
jets to Sacramento for Assembly business, refuses to
be counted out, especially on the basis of age -- a subject rarely mentioned. Dymally says: "Age is an asset in the black community. The average
black voter is a woman over 55."
"In Tuesday's primary to replace state Sen. Edward Vincent (D-Inglewood), who is termed out, neither Dymally nor Wright, the
leading Democrats, is pulling punches.
"Wright accuses Dymally of kowtowing to the state Democratic
"Dymally has accused Wright of selling out to business
interests. He calls his opponent a gun advocate and
a Democrat in Republican clothing."
Today's Lincoln Club debate at the "Sacramento Sheraton will go on with just one candidate – former 3rd District Rep. Doug Ose – after rival Tom McClintock dropped out in protest
of the sponsor's refusal to allow two long-shot candidates to participate," reports Peter Hecht in the Bee.
"McClintock debated Ose and candidates Theodore Terbolizard and Suzanne Jones late Wednesday on KFBK radio. The Thousand Oaks lawmaker
assailed Ose as "one of the worst Republican votes in Congress"; Ose ripped him for voting against veterans' benefits while boosting legislators' pay.
"Said Terbolizard: "The people of the 4th District don't care about your petty little feuding."
"They now won't get to hear it at the Sheraton event – a dinner banquet for which guests paid $150 to $180. While McClintock dropped out because Terbolizard
and Jones weren't included, spokesman Stan Devereux indicated McClintock
was also irked by sustained attacks from Ose in a $2 million-plus media campaign.
"'We've had a lot of debates in which we've talked about the issues while Doug continues to
launch personal attacks on Tom's integrity and his patriotism,' Devereux said.
"Ose spokesman Doug Elmets responded that McClintock 'is sticking his head in the sand because he doesn't want to account for his sorry record.'"
CW's Malcolm Maclachlan reports that a legislative deal has been reached between two groups
who don't always see eye to eye.
"Fights between medical doctors and specialists are
legendary around the Capitol. This week, organizations representing optometrists and ophthalmologists
reached a compromise on a set of scope-of-practice issues—including who gets to stick a needle in your eye.
"Since February, the two groups have been sparring over
SB 1406, a bill from Senator Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana. The bill follows a previous scope-of-practice battle between the two groups eight years
ago. That bill, SB 929 from then-Senator Richard Polanco, expanded the number of procedures that optometrists,
who are not medical doctors, can perform. But optometrists’ groups claim California law still limits
their activities in ways that are onerous and endanger
the health of patients, particularly those living in
Capitol Weekly reports on some complaints with the governor's announced settlement on health care cancellations.
"The announcement garnered positive headlines for the
administration, but critics say the agreements do little
to help those who had their health insurance unilaterally
cancelled by HMOs. Consumer advocates claim the proposal
lets health plans off the hook, paying just pennies
on the dollar of these patients’ health care bills -- even if the patients’ health insurance was eliminated illegally.
"'The state says it will cover $15,000 [in patients health care costs]. I’ve never yet seen a rescission case that was as low
as $15,000 in medical bills,” said Jerry Flanagan, a health care activist for Consumer Watchdog. 'Most of them are $100,000 or $200,000 or more.'
"Attorney William Shernoff, who represented some 6,000 policyholders in a class-action against Blue Cross for rescinding policyholders,
says the department did not go far enough.
"'Kaiser stopped the rescissions in 2006. Why isn’t the state stopping all the rescissions? They are
going on right now, and the state is doing nothing,” Shernoff said. “It’s an illegal system that actually hurts people, and
some people actually die.'
"This week, the state Assembly passed two key bills
dealing with rescission. AB 1945 by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, would require health plans to seek approval
from an independent agencies before a patient’s coverage can be rescinded. And AB 2549 by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, would not allow a health plan to rescind
anyone’s coverage after they have had insurance for six months."
The Bee's Dan Weintraub throws another option into the dams vs. conservation
debate. "With California on the edge of drought and water restrictions
already beginning in some areas, the state might soon
be looking toward an ancient practice that is attracting
renewed interest around the world: rainwater harvesting.
"In Australia, rainwater harvesting has been widespread
for years, and in parts of the country it is the only
source of fresh water. The government of Texas is an
aggressive proponent of the idea. And in Washington's San Juan Islands, residents have overwhelmed a state
agency that grants permits for the installation of
"But in California, the notion of capturing rainwater
for use in irrigating landscape still has not reached
the mainstream. Using rainwater for toilet flushing
or even drinking is almost unheard of.
"Rainwater harvesting wouldn't be a panacea, but for many people, it might at least
be the difference between having a green yard or a
brown one, or provide enough water to wash their car
when they want to. A more ambitious application of
the technology could do a lot more."
The Bee's Jim Sanders checks into the ad by the I.E. campaign against Mariko
"Allies of Assembly candidate Christopher Cabaldon are
opponent, Mariko Yamada, as someone who has feathered
her own nest at
"Yamada receives $59,000 annually, and her pay has risen by about $13,500 since she took office on Oct. 31, 2003 – but not because of any vote she cast.
"Before Yamada joined the board, Yolo supervisors had
placed their salaries on automatic pilot, setting their
pay at 33 percent of a Superior Court judge's wages and having it rise accordingly.
"Only once has Yamada voted on the issue of supervisorial
pay. In December 2006, she was part of a 4-1 majority that supported raising the salary benchmark
to 40 percent of a judge's pay in response to a county survey showing that Yolo's pay was 24 percent less than the average of eight other local
"One week after supporting the change in salary formula,
expected to produce an additional $12,250 annually, Yamada and a majority of the board reversed
themselves by tabling the issue amid threat of a referendum.
The higher benchmark never took effect.
"Yamada consistently has accepted the board's automatic pay hikes except in 2004, when Yolo County imposed an employee furlough to
avoid layoffs. She resumed receiving the full salary
one year later."
And from our Welcome Wagon Files, AP reports, "One of the travelers who arrived at
Tokyo's Narita airport over the weekend may have picked up an
unusual souvenir from customs -- a package of cannabis.
"A customs official hid the package in a suitcase belonging
to a passenger arriving from Hong Kong as a training exercise
for sniffer dogs Sunday, but lost track of both drugs
suitcase during the practice session, a spokeswoman
"Customs regulations specify that a training suitcase
used for such exercises, but the official said he had
passengers' suitcases for similar purposes in the past,
domestic media reported.
"The dogs have always been able to find it before," NHK
quoted him as saying. "I became overconfident that it would